Michigan vape ban was stupid from the onset, and state Supreme Court agrees
On Friday, September 18, the Michigan Supreme Court denied Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s request to uphold her emergency executive order to ban the sales of flavored vapes statewide. In fact, the court even refused to hear her administration’s case, stating in official court documents, “The court is not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this court.”
This nefarious tale of gubernatorial ineptitude and overaction all began in mid-2019 with a supposed outbreak of mysterious lung ailments allegedly linked to “vaping.” Later named EVALI by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the disorder is indeed real, but the Governor’s nonstop claims of its widespread prevalence were found to be highly suspect. Furthermore, the true cause of EVALI is now determined to be something entirely different than nicotine-based vapes.
The CDC reports less than 3,000 cases of EVALI - an acronym for e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury - throughout the United States, and approximately 68 deaths. In light of the CDC’s controversial handling of the coronavirus pandemic which currently consists of over 7 million cases and 209,000 deaths nationwide, perhaps the Michigan Supreme Court felt Gov. Whitmer’s lawsuit was rather frivolous.
But there’s more to the story.
As far back as February 2020, almost 8 months ago, the CDC publicly acknowledged that the “vaping-related” lung injuries were not linked to the vaping of conventional nicotine-based vapor products at all. Rather, the true cause was contraband THC-enhanced cartridges illegally acquired through black market vendors. The CDC issued the following statement via a February 25 press release.
“Due to continued declines in new EVALI cases since September 2019, and the identification of vitamin E acetate as a primary cause of EVALI, today’s release is the final biweekly CDC update on the number of hospitalized EVALI cases and deaths nationally. CDC will continue to provide assistance to states, as needed, related to EVALI and will provide future updates as needed at: www.cdc.gov/lunginjury.”
Even though the CDC had publicly admitted that nicotine-based vapes – flavored or otherwise – have nothing whatsoever to do with the EVALI phenomenon, Gov. Whitmer persisted. She continuously asserted declare her emergency order valid and necessary, even though the CDC had already acknowledged that no EVALI “emergency” actually exists.
Moreover, in December 2019, Judge Cynthia Diane Stephens of the Michigan Court of Claims heard the Whitmer Administration’s initial case, and Judge Stephens thought it was total hogwash, too. In her ruling document, the judge states:
"Thus, and at this stage of the litigation, defendants have undercut their own assertions of an emergency by the fact that they demurred on taking action for nearly a year, and in the case of some information even longer than that, after they were in possession of the information cited in support of the emergency declaration.”
With so many cards stacked against her, why would Whitmer continue to push this conspiracy theory of a vaping ban all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court? Who knows, but the refusal of the courts to uphold the ban could be a substantial and positive legal precedent for the vaping community in the longer term.
If politicians continue to cry wolf about the so-called dangers of vaping when hundreds of thousands of Americans are literally dying from COVID, they’d better have something better than a few thousand stupid teenagers illegally buying cannabis cartridges to back up their outlandish anti-vaping accusations.
Vaping saves lives. Vaping is serious business. The Michigan Supreme Court knows this. Why doesn’t Governor Gretchen Whitmer?
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)